Going down a bomb

THE news this week of what the new BBC digital channel for Scotland will look like reminds us of a few BBC stories from the Diary's past, including when Reporting Scotland covered an arrest in Glasgow in connection with a terrorist bombing in Stockholm. The BBC interviewed a neighbour about the armed police raid who told them: "I heard a lot of noise which woke me up. Police were shouting, 'Lie down, lie down'. Doors were banging, there were firearms." We just wondered if it was only in Glasgow when the neighbour then added: "I thought it must be the end of a party or something.”

Balls up

SPORTS fans with long memories will remember the BBC sports quiz Quizball which combined players with celebrities. Actor John Cairney was appearing with an erudite Celtic quiz team but someone called off and Lisbon Lion Willie Wallace was drafted in. Recalled John: "'Wispy' hadn't opened his mouth, so we arranged to leave one question to him. It was 'Who or what is a garryowen?' We all knew it was a kick from the hands to score in rugby, but looked at Wispy to respond.

"He gulped, pressed his buzzer, and whispered tentatively, 'The racing correspondent of the Daily Record?’"

Would ye credit it

WE liked the reaction of stand-up Kevin Bridges, currently packing them in at The SSE Hydro, when the BBC gave him his own TV series. Said Kevin: "It'll be great to see something on national TV made from Scotland that doesn't have an appeal for witnesses before the closing credits.”

You're so Chick

IT would be wrong to talk about the BBC without resurrecting a tale about our old chum Chick Young, the BBC sports reporter. Former Celtic striker and man-about-town Frank McAvennie once recalled sneaking into the Scotland team's Glasgow hotel at four in the morning after a post-curfew night on the tiles with fellow scallywag Mo Johnston. Frank said that when news of his offence became public, BBC sports reporter Chick Young interviewed him and asked what they were thinking about, being in a nightclub when they should have been preparing for a game.

Frank replied: "You tell us, Chick – you were still there when we left.”

Name calling

A BBC Scotland reporter once told us she managed to read the name of the late North Korea leader Kim Jong il when he died without mispronouncing it. So what, you might think, but she tells us of a fellow broadcaster who read the name out as Kim Jong the Second.

Fur goodness sake

BBC sports reporter Alison Walker arrived at Hamilton racecourse to do a report on Scotland's own poor-man's Ascot, the Saints and Sinners meeting, and was helping the crew hump the equipment through the crowd when one wee girl shouted: "Aw, look at that wee dug, maw! Can a clap it?"

Her slightly refreshed mother declared: "Aye, oan ye go, hen, that's a smashin' wee dug right enough." Alison then gently explained that she was in fact carrying an, admittedly furry, boom mic.

Got his number

WHEN the BBC moved from Queen Margaret Drive in the west end across to Pacific Quay, former Labour leader Gordon Brown was at the opening, reminiscing about his early days at rivals Scottish Television when he had to handle phone complaints from the public. He said his boss advised him: "Be very courteous, and start by asking the number of their TV licence.”

Hostage to fortune

THE BBC's former Gaza correspondent, Alan Johnston, who spent four months as a hostage, was guest speaker at Dollar Academy's annual dinner in Edinburgh. After a moving speech, Alan inquired if there were questions from the audience, and was asked: "You spent some time in Dundee – was that a good preparation for being held hostage in Gaza?”

Smoke signals

GIOVANNA Eusebi, who runs award-winning delis in both the west end and the east end of Glasgow, was over in the east end with a BBC film crew who were illustrating how the east end of the city was beginning to flourish. However a drunk appeared over the horizon, fixed his beady eye on the crew, and asked them what was going on. In a rather posh London accent, one replied: "I'm the producer."

This information was digested by the drunk who asked: "Well, gonnae produce a fag then?”